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Westminster Diary

The Prime Minister’s Brexit deal has been voted down by the House of Commons, in the worst defeat ever suffered by a Government. MPs from across the House were united in voting against what is seen to be a disastrous proposal, not just the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement but because there is no detail or clarity in our future arrangements as described in the Political Declaration. 

I have always said that seeking to retain the benefits of both the Customs Union?and?the Single Market is vital to protecting jobs, businesses and the economy.  The Prime Minister’s deal simply did not deliver this. It would have been extremely damaging to our constituency, in particular to manufacturing and jobs, and so I voted against it. 

432 out of 650 MPs of all political persuasions decided they also could not vote for the deal – humiliating on all counts. The Prime Minister acted in isolation during these botched negotiations. She side-lined Parliament and the divisions in her Cabinet and across her own benches are real and now evident. 

The deal is now dead. What happens next is unclear. On Wednesday my Party, Labour, put in for a Vote of No Confidence. It is quite clear that were it not for the Fixed-term Parliaments Act, this Prime Minister and this Government would not be still in place. In any event, I think that whatever deal may be acceptable to the majority in Parliament, a second referendum on this against the option to remain is necessary to ensure this is what the public are seeking.  

Last week I attended the launch of Shelter’s Vision for Social Housing report. It makes the argument that the housing crisis can only be solved through building a lot more social homes – 3.1 million over the next 20 years. I wholeheartedly endorse its conclusions and it presents a welcome challenge to all parties to drastically improve their housing policies to make house prices and rents more affordable and eradicate homelessness.